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Samantha Larson on how to care for your wedding jewelry.

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is... "What is the best way to clean my jewelry?". And, you will be surprised to know that, we as jewelers, do have a secret. And I am going to let you in on it. Its dish soap. Surprise!

A little grease cutting dish soap, I like Dawn, on a soft bristled tooth brush and warm water. Rinse with water, give a little scrub scrub then rinse again and dry. If you are wanting a spot free gem, blow it dry with your hair dryer - although, most jewels are not heavy enough to stay in one spot and all metals will get HOT. So put it on a towel, on the floor, cup your hand around the back of where the jewel is and blow it dry. When you are used to how much movement there will be, move to an area that is more comfortable while drying.

Things to keep in mind:

1. Not all gems should be cleaned. It's best to let professionals clean your emeralds and your opals.

2. Metal gets hot, red hot. Don't blow it dry on your body, it will hurt.

3. Pearls and other soft stone gems (coral included) should be left to professionals. They are easily damaged.

4. DO NOT USE TOOTHPASTE. Toothpaste is a natural abrasive. If you use it on your metals and gems they will get scratched. This holds true for other abrasives also.

5. There is no need to use a "jewelry cleaner". I have found many clients have an allergy to the film build up left behind from using them. If this is your case, get some grease cutting dish soap and clean your ring using the method above. Leave your ring off your finger until the redness (and possible peeling) has cleared up. Should be a day or two depending on how bad it is.

6. Have a professional clean your jewels at least once per year. Not only can they catch preventative maintenance that might be needed (hello loose stone!) but they can use methods to get it 'new from the store' clean.

7. Last but not least - don't use a steam cleaner or ultrasonic cleaner at home unless you have a great relationship with your jeweler. The likelihood of damage from using powerful cleaners such as these is quite high. Steam cleaners can blow slightly loose stones out of their settings and ultrasonic cleaners can wiggle them out. (see #6 about preventative maintenance)

Samantha Larson, G.G.

Stuller Inc.


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